Measuring Effective Ministry

There are a lot of ways to measure effectiveness in ministry. I've been thinking about what Jeff Christopherson and Mac Lake describe as measures of success in their book Kingdom First: Starting Churches that Shape Movements.

  1. New believers — Seeing the gospel take root in people who were previously far from Christ
  2. New disciple makers — Putting 2 Timothy 2:2 into practice
  3. New communities of faith — churches planting churches
  4. Transforming communities — meeting a physical need and attaching it to God's grace

It's worth thinking about how ministry would change if we set these as our goals, rather than focusing primarily on church attendance.

It's easy to pursue counterfeit success. It's definitely worth the time to think through an accurate description of effectiveness, and then to pray and work with the right end in mind. It's much more exciting and challenging than the alternative.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

A New Morning Pattern

It's the morning. My habit has been to make a beeline for the computer. First, I check emails. Then, I read blogs. Then I read my Twitter feed. Then, if I have time left over, I read my Bible.

See the order? Yes, me too. It's bothered me, but I've still generally followed this pattern until recently.

At Exponential this year, I listened to a pastor who only checks emails twice a week. I figured that if he could do this, I could probably settle for checking emails once a day.

When I stopped checking email until late afternoon, I also lost interest in checking blogs and Twitter too.

I'm learning a better morning ritual now. It begins with Scripture, and then leads into a couple of devotional books (New Morning Mercies and Saving Grace), before I crack open my prayer cards. Then, if I have any time left over, I journal.

It's sad, but I find that a wristband helps me remember to do this, just like the cloth cover I put over my computer at night reminds me to stop going online.

Small steps. For me, though, it's a big step. It's time to put what's most important first. I'm learning that most everything else can wait.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

3 Things to Remember Before You Criticize Someone’s Theology

Good criticism is hard work, and it’s necessary work until Christ returns. The above three points won’t prevent us from making every mistake, but they will help us be better critics and therefore better servants of God and truth.

Do All Infants Go to Heaven?

This is more than a theoretical issue designed for speculation. It touches one of the most emotionally and spiritually unsettling experiences in all of life: the loss of a young child.

Is The Smartphone Killing Weekend Church Services?

So the upside for online impact is staggering.

But that doesn’t make the church entirely virtual or downloadable.

The Danger of Comparison

Comparison, if allowed to root, will extinguish your worship to God.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much

You're busy. I don't even need to guess, nor do I need to convince you that it's a problem. The emails keep coming, the work piles up, and nothing you do seems to help. You've probably read time management books too, but they just add to the pressure.

I can relate. Although most productivity books don't seem to help, I occasionally read another just in case. It's why I read Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe when I went on vacation this summer.

Busy is different than I expected. Rather than telling us how to keep up, it advises us that we can't: "We have to accept that we will never be in control again; there are too many demands on our time." It's better to accept "once and for all that you will never, ever be in control again, and that not being in control is okay."

How should we respond, then? Busy suggests that we focus on three approaches:

  • mastery — accepting that we won't get it all done, and focusing instead on what we want to get done
  • differentiation — switching from getting things done to making an impact, and knowing our unique callings
  • engagement — focusing on depth rather than breadth

There's little in this book that I haven't read before. For some reason, though, more of the message got through to me this time. I'm someone who tries to get it all done, and Busy helped me see that this is a foolish and impossible goal.

After reading Busy, I took some notes to apply its lessons:

  1. Stop trying to stay on top of it all. It's an impossible goal. Get sloppy.
  2. Plan around outputs (what's most important to do) rather than inputs (responding to emails and incoming demands).
  3. Limit inputs.
  4. Do what you're doing in a more playful, mischievous way.
  5. Stop doing things that are not core to your strategy.
  6. Start each day with the big things.
  7. Be brutally clear about who you are and what you're about.
  8. Be clear about the problem that you're trying to solve.
  9. Use big chunks to get important work done.
  10. Don't try to fill dead time.

I know you're busy. If you're looking for permission to stop trying to keep up, and to focus instead on what really matters, you may find this book helpful too.

More from Amazon.com | TonyCrabbe.com

Four Post-Vacation Reflections

One of the most revealing moments is the drive home from a vacation. I find that when I'm away for a couple of weeks, I become more aware of how I'm really doing. Problems that I've ignored bubble to the surface. Apprehension and hope flood the soul as I return closer to home.

I just returned from vacation last week. As we drove home from Montreal to Toronto, I had the opportunity to reflect. Here are four things I observed.

I am blessed to be a church planter.

Having been away from Liberty Grace Church for a couple of weeks, I couldn't wait to get back. That's a good feeling. Church planting is hard, and I've faced my share of frustration. Being away, however, reminded me that I am a blessed man. I am part of a small, new church with people I love, in a community I love. It is an unspeakable privilege to pastor them, and to look for ways to reach people who've never heard the gospel. I am incredibly blessed.

I am an idolatrous man.

I did sense some apprehension on the way home, and it had to do with me. Specifically, I found myself wrestling with some insecurities about my leadership. While I want to be a good leader, I realized that some of my insecurities have to do with proving myself, even wanting to make a name for myself. It sounds silly when I say it, but it's true.

While on vacation, I realized again that ministry can flow out of my relationship with Jesus, but it can also flow out of my insecurities and need to prove myself. It's the difference between being called and driven. I need to pay attention to this issue in my soul.

I have been too busy.

While on vacation, I read Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much. I was reminded of some important lessons in this book, and I'll write about them on Thursday. As a result of reading this book, though, I've made some simple but hard changes in how I work, and it's making a difference. I need to make sure that I'm not too busy to get to my most important work.

My identity is found in my relationship to Christ.

There's something about taking a break from our regular routines to recenter on what is most important. I am a lot of things: a husband, father, church planter, and friend. Most importantly, I'm an adopted Son of the King, a child of God, a co-heir with Jesus. I forget it regularly, but I'm glad I remembered it while on vacation. There are few things more important in my life than remembering who God is, and who I am in relation to him.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.